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Why does hair turn gray?

March 24, 2022

About the Author

photo of Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School. … See Full Bio
View all posts by Robert H. Shmerling, MD


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Dan Gottlieb
September 25, 2017

I’m a 92-year old male with a full head of brown hair, that is not dyed, and i don’t use any lotions. My solution is so simple that you are going to wonder why you did not think of it. It is so simple and logical.
For the last 40 years I have been massaging my scalp, 2 times a day. At this point i use a hairbrush with the little balls at the end of the bristles.
It just seems logical that the scalp, and the hair follicles, would be healthier with more blood.
By the way, my health history is terrible. 36 years ago I had cardiac arrest on a Downtown street in Boston (before cell phones), wiped out the Widow maker, and spent 19 days at Mass General. To complete the picture, I think it only fair to say that I made a fantastic recovey.

September 25, 2017

I am 65 with still mostly reddish brown hair. I do have enough grey that if someone looks closely they don’t think that I dye my hair. I have two siblings who have started turning grey late too. All three of us started having a few grey strands around 60. Two others started having grey come in in their early 40s. One of my aunts still had a mix of brown and grey in her early nineties. The timing of greying certainly seems to be genetic in my family. I would think that never greying would also be a gene-related outcome.

September 24, 2017

During my work in health care I noticed that elderly with long term health issues like diabetes (since their younger years) usually have quite dark hair without coloring it.

In wild boars it is a sign of good health.

September 22, 2017

Dr. Shmerling,

You wrote that “Once a hair follicle produces hair, the color is set. ” I am a blond with some red highlights and have produced black hairs on my head and face. I have had a few strands of my mustache start out gray then turn black and vice versa. Just wanted to comment about follicles setting their color.

Nanda Acharya
September 22, 2017

My parents got grey hair at 55+ yrs of age.and I have got them at 35+ yrs.i have a medium level stressful lifestyle.and do not have any of the diseases mentioned above.

Erica Himley
September 19, 2017

I am facing this problem from any days. Even lot of my hairs are Don’t know what to do. I have tried everything, applied egg, alovera etc.

September 18, 2017

Hair turns gray because you don’t die it! (Ha! sorry!)

September 23, 2017

Suzanne, . . . dye it! Great comment.

Commenting has been closed for this post.

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